Reframing Writing Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning

By Linda Adler-Kassner; Peggy O’Neill | Go to book overview

3
THE FRAMING OF COMPOSITION
AND WRITING ASSESSMENT

In chapter two, we discussed how the current frame surrounding stories of American education perpetuates and builds upon existing tales of the purpose of school. This frame currently shapes a dominant story about postsecondary education focusing on “preparation for college and career,” linking individual economic success to national progress. It has also led to a number of issues linked to the purposes and audiences for assessment that illustrate the differences that often exist between the many individuals and groups who are invested in postsecondary education, from instructors to future employers.

In this chapter, we examine the framing of topics and issues probably more familiar to most of us: composition and writing assessment. Within our discipline, as elsewhere, frames and framing often operate at an unconscious level, drawing on cultural values and creating structures for understanding reality, defining common sense, and producing cultural narratives. Just as reframing requires a broad understanding of these frames and the stories they produce about postsecondary education generally, so we must understand the stories that extend from the frames surrounding composition and writing assessment as well. These frames shape our perspectives just as they shape those of others. The early frames for the teaching, learning and assessing of writing—which in many ways conflict with those constructed by contemporary compositionists and literacy experts—continue to influence how composition and writing assessment are positioned in the academy as well as in contemporary conversations about written literacy. We begin by briefly reviewing the history of writing assessment to reveal the

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Reframing Writing Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • 1 - Higher Education, Framing, and Writing Assessment 1
  • 2 - Framing (and) American Education 13
  • 3 - The Framing of Composition and Writing Assessment 40
  • 4 - Reframing Strategies and Techniques 81
  • 5 - Reframing in Action 110
  • 6 - Reframing Assessment 145
  • 7 - Reimagining Writing Assessment 179
  • References 192
  • Index 205
  • About the Authors 208
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